AMD vs. INTEL in 2024: Which desktop CPUs are better?

AMD vs. INTEL in 2024: Which desktop CPUs are better?

If you are looking for a new desktop processor in 2024, you may wonder which brand is better: AMD or Intel? Is a Ryzen better than an Intel? Moreover, who wins in an AMD vs. Intel gaming competition? Both companies offer a wide range of computer processors for different needs and budgets. However, there are some key differences between them, and both AMD and Intel CPUs have their pros and cons. Here are some of the main factors to consider when comparing 2024’s AMD Ryzen and Intel Core desktop processors:


AMD vs. Intel processors: Manufacturing process, heat, and power consumption

Both AMD and Intel have capable processors; there’s no question about it. However, when it comes to specs, there are some differences between them. While Intel was almost always first in technological advances in the past, with AMD overshadowing it in the last couple of years, both companies seem equally advanced today.

One key factor determining a processor’s performance and efficiency is the manufacturing process, also known as lithography or the node. This refers to the size of the processor’s transistors, measured in nanometers (nm). The smaller the transistors, the more they can fit on a chip, resulting in higher performance and lower power consumption.

AMD has been ahead of Intel in this aspect for several years, thanks to its partnership with TSMC, a leading semiconductor foundry. AMD’s latest Zen 4 CPUs (Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 8000 series) use 5 and 4-nanometer manufacturing processes. This allows them to pack more cores and cache, as well as features like 3D stacking technology (X3D) that boost performance even further.

On the other hand, Intel has been struggling with its manufacturing process, which has caused delays and setbacks for its products. Therefore, Intel still uses a 10-nanometer process for its 13th and 14th Gen Core processors. However, the company tweaked its CPUs, which utilize a hybrid architecture with two types of cores: high-performance and power-efficient, similar to smartphone processors. Thanks to this approach, many of Intel’s latest processors can match or, in certain cases, even outmatch AMD’s models.

AMD vs Intel

AMD vs Intel

All that leads to a series of benefits and disadvantages for both AMD’s Ryzen processors and their Intel counterparts:

  • Thanks to the smaller manufacturing process, Ryzen CPUs have an increased density of transistors per mm². Therefore, AMD processors are typically more power-efficient and cooler (lower TDP) than similar Intel processors.
  • Despite improvements in their hybrid design, Intel processors still tend to consume more power and generate more heat than AMD processors.

The latest Intel Core processors can use their high-performance cores for demanding tasks (like games) and their efficient cores for less demanding ones. This means that Intel processors’ performance, heat, and TDP can vary greatly depending on what you’re doing. For instance, they can stay cool and power-efficient during office work, but when they need to increase performance, like in games or video editing software, the cost is a significantly higher amount of electricity consumed. Plus, more heat is created. AMD processors are generally more energy-efficient than Intel processors, requiring less power for the same or higher level of performance. They also tend to consume lesser amounts of electricity when performing light tasks.

Overall, it’s clear that AMD and Intel have different approaches when making their processors. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, but I think it’s quite clear that AMD is better than Intel when it comes to the manufacturing process, heat, and power consumption, offering high-performance and energy-efficient processors. Still, with its hybrid CPU design, Intel manages to balance performance and power efficiency, although not as well as AMD.


AMD vs. Intel processors: Performance

Intel has a tradition of delivering desktop processors with incredible single-core speeds, and that’s still true for the 13th Gen and especially the 14th Gen Core lineup. Many of these Intel processors can run at speeds higher than 5.0 GHz, and some reach the 6.0 GHz threshold! The fastest of the bunch are the Intel Core i9-14900K, i9-14900KF, and i9-13900KS, all of which can boost to 6.0 GHz!

However, AMD’s processors are not far behind either, reaching almost similar single-core speeds and performance. With the sole exception of the entry-level AMD Ryzen 3 8300G processor, all the other Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 8000 launched thus far feature maximum turbo speeds of over 5.0 GHz! The most powerful of them all are the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D and the AMD 9 7950X, both of which can run at a maximum speed of 5.70 GHz!

The Zen 4 architecture makes the Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 8000 processors capable of delivering higher boost clocks than ever before. Looking back to the past, Ryzen 5000 CPUs promised and offered up to 19% more IPC (instructions per cycle/clock) than previous Zen 2 Ryzen 3000 processors, plus lower cache latency. The Zen 4 architecture used for Ryzen 7000 and 8000 CPUs brings an approximate 13% IPC uplift over predecessors and up to 29% higher single-thread performance!

Is AMD Ryzen better than Intel?

Is AMD Ryzen better than Intel?

Intel’s hybrid architecture delivers incredible performance. The Raptor Lake processors can deliver up to 15% more single-thread performance and up to 41% more multi-thread performance than the previous CPUs. On a trip down memory lane, it’s interesting to remember that the old Alder Lake lineup featured a similar 19% increase in instructions per cycle/clock compared to previous Intel processors. The 14th Gen Intel Core (Raptor Lake Refresh) series is a minor update to Raptor Lake, using the same hybrid architecture but with slightly higher clock speeds and a bit lower power consumption.

Here’s a table I compiled with AMD’s current processor lineup (Spring 2024), their technical specifications, and retail prices:

AMD Ryzen 7000&8000 series CPUs specs, features, and prices

AMD Ryzen 7000&8000 series CPUs specs, features, and prices

Regarding cache memory, the 5 and 4-nm lithographies allow AMD to bundle more of it on its Ryzen processors than Intel can. Throughout the AMD Ryzen 7000 and 8000 lineups, we get between 8 to 64 MB of Level 3 cache memory. Even more on the “3D special” processors designed for gaming performance, where AMD uses 3D V-Cache in amounts of 96 or 128 MB! Intel is behind in this regard, with its Raptor Lake and Raptor Lake Refresh CPUs getting only 12 to 36 MB of Smart Cache memory.


AMD vs. Intel processors: Features

All the Zen 4 AMD Ryzen 7000 desktop processors fully support PCI Express 5.0! As all their lanes are PCIe 5, they have a lot of bandwidth available for both the discrete graphics card and all the other components using this interface, such as M.2 NVMe solid-state drives!

Intel’s Gen 13 and Gen 14 Core processors also support PCI Express 5.0, but only for the x16 graphics port. These CPUs give you the best performance possible from present and future high-end graphics cards that are PCIe 5-compatible. However, the other PCIe lanes are limited to version 4.0, including those that go to the M.2 slots where you connect your SSDs.

Is Intel better than AMD?

Is Intel better than AMD?

AMD’s Ryzen 8000 series lags behind with support only for PCI Express 4. However, the Ryzen 8000 processors are APUs (accelerated processing units) that include both traditional CPU cores and advanced integrated graphics. They’re designed to work without a discrete GPU and have enough power to run AAA games in 1080p resolutions on their own. The Ryzen 8000 processors don’t really need PCIe 5 for that. However, it would’ve been nice to be able to use fast PCIe 5.0 solid-state drives with them.

Regarding memory support, on the one hand, all Intel’s 13th Gen and 14th Gen Core processors support DDR4 RAM running at 3200 MHz. All of them can use DDR5-4800 as well, and higher-end models also offer support for DDR5-5600. Pay attention, however: you’ll have to choose the right motherboard right from the start, as you can only use one type of RAM on any given motherboard. There are some designed for DDR4, and then there are others designed for DDR5.

On the other hand, AMD’s Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 8000 processors only work with DDR5-5200, meaning you’ll need a motherboard and DDR5 memory to accompany any such processor.

Take a look at the table below to see what Intel’s 13 and 14 Gen Core processors offer and what their real prices are today:

Gen 13&14 Intel Core processors specs, features, and prices

Gen 13&14 Intel Core processors specs, features, and prices

Last but not least, when it comes to integrated graphics, both Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors have built-in GPUs. With Intel, it depends on the exact CPU model you’re looking at.

It’s easier with AMD: all Ryzen 8000 and Ryzen 7000 processors have integrated graphics chips, except for the AMD Ryzen 5 7500F.

The integrated graphics options available on AMD Ryzen 7000 and some of Intel’s 13 and 14th-gen Core desktop processors are pretty basic. They can be handy in some computer configurations built for office work but not much else.

The graphics chips built into the AMD Ryzen 8000 processors are another matter, though. As I briefly mentioned earlier, the integrated graphics on these AMD CPUs are quite powerful—significantly more powerful than what you get on AMD Ryzen 7000 or Intel Core models. The AMD Ryzen 8000 processors can run most AAA games at 1080p resolution, although they may sometimes require lower-quality settings. While they’re not designed to compete with or replace dedicated graphics cards, they are undoubtedly the best option on the market for iGPU gaming.

In conclusion, if you want to future-proof your computer, you’ll be better prepared with an AMD Ryzen 7000 processor, as it offers DDR5 support and PCIe 5.0 for your GPU and SSDs. A 13th or 14th-generation Intel Core CPU will give you the same benefits, except that your SSD slot(s) will be limited to PCIe 4.0.

If you need to keep your budget in check, you might want to get an AMD Ryzen 8000 CPU or an Intel Core processor from the 12th or 13th generation. The former lets you play games without having to buy a discrete GPU, while the latter allows you to save some money by using DDR4 memory.


AMD Ryzen vs. Intel Core: Price, value, what to choose?

The question on everyone’s lips is probably which processors offer the best price-per-value, and that’s important to know. For regular daily work, both AMD and Intel processors are excellent choices, and entry-level and mainstream AMD Ryzen processors come at similar prices. However, things are not as clear regarding performance and high-end models. Furthermore, it gets even blurrier when looking at the two generations of processors each company manufactures today.

Most of Intel’s 13-generation Core processors and AMD’s Ryzen 7000s are on sale these days. With Intel, prices seem to have been slashed by about 10%. AMD’s processors, however, seem to have even bigger price cuts, some of them going 30% down their initial rates.

If you want to build a computer for office work, you might not need or want the best performance. It’s possible to find cheap bundles with entry-level Intel Core processors. They can run on DDR4, which is more affordable than DDR5. When building office computers, the prices you can find now should be a strong factor in your choice between Intel and AMD.

If you’re looking for gaming on a budget, you should probably go with an AMD Ryzen 8000. These CPUs deliver impressive integrated graphics performance for desktop PCs, and you don’t need to buy a separate graphics card.

A mainstream AMD Ryzen 7000 or an Intel Core 13th or 14th-Gen CPU may also do the job. Such AMD processors are heavily discounted right now, which means you can spend a bit more on the motherboard and DDR5 memory. With similar Intel Core CPUs, you can save by using your old DDR4. Or, if you have to buy DDR4, it’s more affordable anyway.

Last but not least, if you’re looking for top-notch performance in any workload, be that gaming, video editing, CAD applications, etc., then you should check out higher-end AMD Ryzen 7000 or 14th-Gen Intel Core processors and pair them with DDR5 and appropriate motherboards. Whether you go with Intel or AMD, be ready to spend quite a lot of money on either path you choose.

Intel’s Core i9-14900K processor is the best right now, so if you need maximum brute performance, get it without hesitation. However, consider the fact that it can only work with PCIe 4.0 SSDs. If you want to futureproof your PC and be ready for what’s next, you may want to go with an AMD Ryzen 7000 series processor instead. The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X, for instance, offers similar performance to the Intel Core i9-14900K and also has a lower power consumption. In today’s chaotic energy market, this is an important plus.

Check the following comparison chart for AMD vs. Intel processors if you’d like to see how they stack up against each other. I tried to cover all the essential details of both companies’ current desktop processors, including real-world prices from the Amazon Intel Store and Amazon AMD Store (where a CPU is not available on Amazon, I’ve mentioned the manufacturer-suggested retail price - MSRP) to help you make an informed decision:

You can also download the Excel spreadsheet above, using this link.

Intel vs. AMD: Which one’s the best in 2024?

These are the essential things you should know about 2024’s lineup of AMD Ryzen processors and Intel Core CPUs. As you’ve seen, I can’t pinpoint a clear winner between AMD and Intel. The best processor for your computer depends on your personal preferences, budget, and use cases. Do you want more cores or higher clock speeds? Do you care more about gaming or productivity? Do you want to save money or get the latest features? Ask yourself these questions before deciding which CPU to buy. Regardless of where your brand loyalty sits, which company do you believe makes the best desktop processors these days? AMD or Intel? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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